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Great SWR, Poor Performance

Posted by Pat Haggerty updated

It's possible to tune your SWR to an acceptable level (below 2.0), but still experience poor performance. If this occurs, there are two things that could be wrong.

Limited Radio Output Power

Though this is most likely NOT the problem, your radio could be defective and putting out little to no power. To check this, you’ll need to hook up a power meter to measure the output wattage. Most basic SWR meters should have a power setting that measures output power when the microphone of a radio is keyed. Hook up the meter and take a power reading of the radio. It should read at least 4 watts of output power. If you're getting substantially less than that -- or none at all -- you have a problem with your radio. However, the far more likely problem is that ...

You Need a Better Antenna

If your antenna tunes to an acceptable SWR level and you’re still experiencing poor performance, the problem is that you need a better antenna. Budget, window-mount, or short antennas are convenient but have a reputation for providing sub-par performance. If you want better performance, you’ll need to invest in a higher quality and/or longer antenna. Shop our CB antennas now.


Pat Haggerty

About the Author

As the owner and operator of Right Channel Radios, Pat Haggerty has been helping customers find the best radio solutions since 2008. He is highly knowledgeable in all mobile radio options and setups, including CB radios, GMRS radios, and HAM radios. His wide library of how-to and help articles is frequently referred to as one of the best resources for CB radio installations and technical support online. When he's not assisting radio enthusiasts online or on the phone, you can find Pat enjoying all that Montana's trails have to offer on his skis, mountain bike or Land Cruiser.

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